Protein is “sexy”.
When we hear, or read, the word protein we automatically link it to big muscles.
Food marketers are onto this, with a range of ‘protein bars’ born for a time-poor population with a need for convenience. Cue the range of ‘Protein bars’ that you will see next to the old school ‘Snack Logs’ and ‘Bumper Bars’.
I generally steer clear from the muesli bar aisle at the supermarket, but I went down it for the sake of comparing the following muesli bars:
1.‘Tasti’ Salted Caramel Protein Bar
2.‘Mother Earth’ Raspberry White Chocolate Baked Oaty Slices
3. ‘Nice and Natural’ Protein Nut Bars with 3 Super Seeds
To compare the three bars you go straight to the 100g column on the nutrition label. I am interested in dietary fibre, added sugar, fat and of course, protein.
Dietary fibre is important to help keep us full and to promote good bowel health. Of the three bars the Nice and Natural bar has the most dietary fibre. The Salted Caramel Protein don’t even list it, I’m going to take this as a sign of it containing next to none.
The ‘Nice and Natural’ bar also has the least added sugar (different from total carbohydrate). The ‘Mother Earth’ bar has the most, with more than 25% of the bar being sugar.
If a food contains nuts and seeds, then you can expect it to contain fat. This is not a bad thing as these are unsaturated “good” fats. Focusing, therefore, on the saturated fat, Nice and Natural has the least amount of saturated fat and the ‘Mother Earth’ Baked Oaty Slice has the most.
Sexy protein - which bar is going to have the most? The ‘Tasti’ Salted Caramel bar only just comes out on top with 25.1g/100g and the Nice and Natural being a close second with 24.8g/100g. The Mother Earth bar has a mere 7.1g/100g. The increased protein content comes from ‘soy protein crispies’ which are added readily to cereals and muesli bars in order to increase the protein content without needing to categorise the food item as a ‘supplement’.
If I was to choose between the three bars, without a doubt I would regard the ‘Nice and Natural’ Protein Nut Bars with 3 super seeds as the better choice. I do, however, encourage all clients to prioritise meal preparation and organisation to help reduce a dependence upon processed convenience foods.
A snack is a mini meal that should sustain us between meals.
The key word in that sentence is ‘sustain’. To help sustain energy, team a protein source with some fruit or vegetables, or some quality carbohydrates.
I recommend foods like Greek yogurt and berries, cottage cheese and vege sticks, raw nuts and a piece of fruit, a boiled egg and a piece of toast over process convenience foods.
If intermittent fasting was a superhero,
it would claim that its powers were:
In other words,
It would claim to transform people to their desired shape.
I’m interested in learning more about the science behind intermittent fasting and if it is sustainable in the long term.
What is intermittent fasting?
Basically, it means changing the timing of your meals and snacks so there is a prolonged period that you are not eating or drinking.
This is thought to help your body switch from a ‘fed’ to a ‘fasted’ state. This fasted state is thought to tell your body to utilise your fat stores rather than your glucose stores (glycogen) to fuel your body.
There are many variations of fasting, a simple google search will prove this. ‘The 5:2 diet’ involves restricting calorie intake to 500-600 for two days of the week. The 16:8 fasting method involves a 16 hour fast and 8 hour eating window. The list goes on.
Let’s talk Science
Carbohydrate, or glucose, is the bodies preferred fuel source and one of the main objectives is to keep our blood sugar levels within a ‘normal’ range.
Our carbohydrate (glycogen) stores are depleted during exercise or if no food is consumed in 18-24 hours. Once this happens our body needs to find a way to produce glucose. Our bodies are so smart that they can break down our muscles to produce glucose, this is called gluconeogenesis. Our bodies can also utilise our fat stores in a process called beta-oxidation. Our fat stores are not converted to glucose but to ketones which can fuel our brain and muscle cells in the absence of glucose.
This happens when we are in the fasting state or “starvation” mode. So, if we starve or fast, our bodies will use muscles and/or fat stores to keep us alive.
So, in theory, fasting may help utilise your fat stores, but in order to recommend fasting I need some scientific support that has been conducted on humans.
Unfortunately, much of the literature I have reviewed on this topic is based on anecdotal personal accounts, or laboratory studies on mice rather than human subjects.
The anecdotal evidence has presented individual accounts of people having had short-term success meeting certain weight management goals, but I have concerns about some secondary aspects of intermittent fasting.
The issues I have with fasting:
Diets don’t work, we need to be able to continue the changes we make for the rest of our lives. This means fuelling our bodies and our minds.
I would argue that the psychological aspects of fasting (that is food deprivation/starvation) are not suitable or realistic in the long-term. They’re almost like a punishment.
We have different triggers to eat - environmental cues (like a morning tea shout), emotional cues (like sadness), stress, hormonal fluctuations, social events, exercise and our actual hunger cues.
I encourage people to identify what is triggering them to eat or overeat, understand why and then address that.
I also work with a lot of athletes. A sustained calorie restriction in athletes can not only impair performance and recovery, it can result in a condition called Relative Energy Deficiency in sport (RED-S) which can negatively affect bone health, hormonal balance, immunity, mental health and heart health.
So, is Intermittent Fasting a Superhero? At this point I’m going to say no. That applies especially to those wanting to create a healthy lifestyle for themselves or their families or to meet nutritional requirements for exercise.
Reducing our intakes of processed foods, eating plenty of vegetables, oily fish, wholegrains and legumes are a way to fuel our minds and bodies. Actual food is the real Superhero.
In order for me to have success in the kitchen I need recipes(/what recipes?) to have room for creative freedom.
I half, I double, I take things out and I add things in.
I can imagine that watching me bake is stressful for the perfectionists among us.
The way I cook only works when I think about the role of any ingredients that I change.
This is especially important for baking as most ingredients are there for a reason.
I LOVE using pumpkin in baking.
I also LOVE substituting blitzed oats for flour as a healthier alternative.
I have developed a pumpkin spice muffin that is nutritious, moist and delicious.
NB: At first I didn't use the LSA but the mixture was too runny so I added it at the end to help hold the mixture together.
2 cups oats
1/2 cup LSA
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp Dried ginger
pinch of salt
1/2 butternut pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 tin of coconut cream
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Soak dates in boiling water
3. Add oats to food processor until it resembles flour.
4. Put in a bowl and add other dry ingredients - LSA, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt.
5. Leave the skin on and chop pumpkin in half. Chop in to small cubes and boil/microwave until soft.
6. Add pumpkin to food processor to make a puree. Add other wet ingredients - drained dates, coconut cream, vanilla essence, eggs.
7. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix.
8. Add mixture to muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Makes 12 generous muffins. Or 1 large loaf
Download the pdf here.
It has been a while since I posted about food that I love,
been busy and all that.
Recent discussions with clients and the fact that our
beautiful Maunga is covered in snow means I’m thinking
about making soup, pumpkin soup.
I have compared the carbohydrate, starch and
dietary fibre content of the following to help clear up
Per 100g: Carbs (g) Starch(g) Fibre (g)
Butternut squash 6.9 1.7 1.8
Kumara – with skin 14.1 8.5 3.0
Potato – with skin 12.9 12.3 1.8
All three of these vegetables are amazing. They contain goodies like: Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. All of which play a role in keeping us well.
It is commonly thought that pumpkins have a high carbohydrate content, but you can see the Butternut squash has almost half the carbohydrate content of both potato and kumara; very little starch and like a lot of vegetables, it’s high in dietary fibre.
To get the most out of these vegetables and to decrease meal preparation time, leave the skins on.
Tip - If you’re making soup, pumpkin skins can be easily blended by using a stick blender.
Keep cosy during this cold snap and perhaps warm up with some pumpkin soup, I plan on it.
Three reasons why this saucy number is up for review:
I wanted unadulterated flavour so first I tried it by itself – it was smoky and tangy like all good BBQ sauce. I then added it to eggs, which it complimented well. Extra points for not giving me a sugar rush. Tick.
I hate that the nutritional value of things like sauce even need to be considered – if you are having something sweet you want it to be an obvious sweet treat, right? I’m thinking ice-cream or a caramel slice. Not something that is considered savoury.
Popular brands (Hint: rhymes with squatties) Tomato sauce is 30% sugar and I found a sweet-chilli sauce packing a sugar punch of 66% (more sweet, less chilli).
Sneaky food companies.
Sugar is sugar is sugar. Meaning whether you’re adding white sugar, raw sugar, organic coconut sugar, molasses, rice syrup, maltose, nectars, agave syrup, maple syrup (just to name a few) you are adding “free sugar”. It is recommended that what we eat on a daily basis should be under 10% of free sugars (ideally under 5%). In simple terms this means sweetened foods should be kept to a minimum.
Given there is 14.3g/100g of “sugar” in Get Real Foods BBQ Sauce there is free sugar coming from somewhere. That somewhere is Apple juice concentrate and Blackstrap Molasses. Dates contain natural sugar too so they will be adding sweetness. In comparison a sauce with 14.3% “free sugar” is a job well done. You should however still be weary of how much you are adding at the table.
I appreciate NZ brands that do their best to reduce sugar content and make the ethical choice not to use preservatives, artificial flavours or colours.
Good one Get Real Food.
These bad boys are starting to appear . . . cue the smile.
This means summer bbqs, sunshine and real fruit ice creams are also
about to appear in my life.
The average sized strawberry is 12g
Per 100g Strawberries contain:
- Carbs: 3.9g (this is low)
- Fibre: 2.5g (this is high!)
- Calories: 21 (this is low!)
- Potassium: 158mg (Higher than bananas)
- Vitamin C: 45mg (this is high)
Analysis aside, this fruit is beautiful and I hope you've all managed to have your first strawberry of the season.
Beetroot as a sports supplement??
One beetroot (82g):
Beetroot also contains Nitrates.
Nitrates get converted to NITRIC OXIDE.
Nitric oxide opens our blood vessels which allows more blood and oxygen to be delivered to our muscles during exercise.
So. . . .beetroot = nitrates = nitric oxide = happier muscles = potential improvement in performance
You will need around 500ml of straight beetroot juice to get the desired concentration of nitrates OR companies like Beet It Sport offer a 70ml shot that offer similar amount of Nitrates.
NB: watch for purple pee or poo or stomach upset
You can know everything there is about macros, micronutrients, phytonutrients, dietary carcinogens, supplements, sports nutrition and how to fuel athletes.
However, if you don't know how to cook or how to apply that knowledge practically then what good is it?
Check out the photo below of some athletes cooking up a storm - nice one team.
An Evening that is applicable to females of all ages!
Buy a ticket and come along with your mum, sister or bestie!
Be informed, have fun and remember - knowledge is power
Check out our facebook page or contact Hilary on 021480180 or email@example.com for tickets
I want to be abundantly clear about my intentions as your Dietitian
I have recently returned home after working as a Dietitian in the UK.
Starting up Privately is new to me, I am constantly learning.
Come on this journey with me - It's fun.